Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree. Daniel 6:10-12
A new Persian ruler after Persia’s conquest of Babylonia promotes Daniel to serve as one of three commissioners over the entire empire. Daniel enjoys such astonishing success among commissioners and the 120 satraps (provincial administrators) that the other leaders plot in jealousy to ruin his career (v. 4). Their zeal is fueled especially by news that Darius the king has plans to appoint Daniel over the whole empire. Daniel’s integrity is so firm that the enemies can discover no grounds of accusation that they can make stuck. So they cleverly connive to deceive the king by manipulating him by appealing to his ego to have the support of his subjects. Daniel’s consistency in being faithful can be his ruin in the plotters’ scheme. The evil leaders encourage the king to sign a decree requiring that no one be the object of requests for one month except him. Acting in haste, without suspecting the wider consequences of what requests entail Darius signed the decree. Daniel, even though knowing of the decree, persists in his three-a-day prayer vigils before God. He knew that the penalty for violation was to be cast into the den of lions (v. 7). Given a choice of death or denying his God even for a month, or a day, he chose to face the peril of death. Daniel was found guilty violating the king’s decree that he was thrown to the lion’s den. He obeyed the king’s decision but instead of being worried about his situation, he continued to pray. The Lord honored Daniel’s righteous life by answering his prayers. Once declared righteous in God’s sight because we have placed our faith in Him alone and His atoning sacrifice on the cross, we are called to live a righteous life in Christ. But we should never get the wrong impression that we can demand God to give us anything we want, for our righteous living does not make God owe us anything. Righteousness is not rewarded with answered prayer. This has been the attitude of Daniel every time he prays; “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy” (Daniel 9:18). Any answer to prayer is certainly based upon God’s mercy; His undeserved favor and unrighteous living will prevent God from answering our prayers. When we have strong conviction about our faith, this will attract both those who appreciate the way we live and will arouse the jealousy of our peers. There will always be resentment between good and evil comparable to the unending struggle between light and darkness. God’s vindication of Daniel’s commitment to Him brings encouragement to us who find ourselves under pressure because of our attempt to hold high standards in contemporary life. Although we realize God does not work miracles unrestrained, we still can be confident that He knows of our situation. He will intervene at the proper time so He could deliver us. God may not come as quickly as we feel He should to answer our prayers, but faith continually reminds us in times of discouragement that help is near and God will not linger long for He will answer.